Category Archives: guest posts

Guest Post: Doing More with Less: Organizational Learning and the OLSET tool

My other half recently received a free e-copy of the study guide “Doing More with Less: Organizational Learning and the OLSET tool” by Anthi Theiopoulou.

Doing More With Less; Organizational Learning and the OLSET tool

Here is the book blurb.

A sustainable learning organization always has a competitive advantage, and organizational-learning tools can provide businesses of any size with the ability to achieve more with less. This innovation in management is based in science and backed by numerous successful applications.

Author Anthi Theiopoulou, MSc, conducted breakthrough research in organizational learning (OL) best practices and the operationalization of OL principles. As a leading international expert, she offers this guide for applying OL to any business and measuring the outcome.

This overview is for leaders and researchers from a range of backgrounds. It begins by reviewing management strategies and the most current research on OL. Part two covers each component of OL in greater depth to allow leaders to design and implement their own systems. Part three is a sample OL management system, which is highly customizable, uniquely scalable, and it includes the organizational learning self-evaluation tool—or OLSET—developed by the author at the University of Liverpool. This unique element of the methodology allows leaders to conduct an OL capacity audit.

The result of years of experience and research, Doing More with Less turns science into practice. These empirically based guidelines and techniques have the power to make organizations successful in any future.

And this is what my other half had to say about Doing More with Less.

An interesting accessible book on organisational learning read in about a week.

Some really interesting and insightful material in Part III – Managing Organisational Learning, particularly Chapter 14.

Doing More with Less is on Amazon, currently priced at £16.65 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format.

You can find out more about the author Anthi Theiopoulou and her book on her website here.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book we were sent for free.  All opinions are our own.

Guest Post: Inspiration behind Porcelain

Guest post by Lee Cockburn, author of “Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents”.

Porcelain Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn

Porcelain was the name I had actually chosen for my first book, but I don’t think it would have been right for the theme of Devil’s Demise.

Re Porcelain, I’ve never liked porcelain dolls, they give me the creeps and I think they frighten adults far less children.

I wouldn’t say I was inspired to write Porcelain, I was more drawn to the unspoken topic it portrays, the silent suffering of many, the great unsaid.

So many people I have encountered, some friends and others acquaintances, and just folk you meet, have been touched by this evil brush, that scars you deep inside, but very few ever share their dark secret, a fear of releasing a truth that can never be untold, and the irreversible affect on everybody involved, and disbelief that somebody they love could be capable of things like this.

It is a harrowing topic, and as a mother if bores fear deep inside me, but creates a ferocious protector of those little ones that depend on you, they are so precious, and should be treated as such, so innocent and vulnerable.

It took me two weeks to write the beginning of the abduction scene, wondering how I could write this with minimum affect on the child, because even though this topic is hideous, I’m still a mother, and don’t want to harm children, even in writing, I don’t want to harm anyone for that matter.

My theme for all of my books will be good versus evil, harrowing topics that happen in the darkest recesses of evil minds, it may be a difficult to read some of the graphic horror, but hopefully right will defeat wrong before the end.

Enjoy the read.

Lee Cockburn

Porcelain Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn

And you may read my review of Lee’s new book Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents here.

Guest post: How to Buy a Real Birthday Card

Balloons

Source: StockSnap

How to Buy a Real Birthday Card Online

It may seem old fashioned, but I still love getting and giving real birthday cards – and collecting my children’s cards for them to look back on one day.

Though the online age has tried to replace cards with e-cards or Facebook messages, I still prefer getting a real card, chosen by someone who knows me, with a handwritten message inside (and if they send a personalised chocolate card, I won’t complain!). I can’t lie though: it can be really hard to find the perfect card for my friends and family, and I don’t always have the time I’d like.

However, there are some great options for buying cards online including a new store in the US that’s doing something truly groundbreaking: sending real cards, with your own message – in your own handwriting – right from your computer.  Here’s a round-up for you other busy mums!

Moonpig – https://www.moonpig.com/

Established in the UK, USA and Australia, Moonpig’s biggest appeal is being able to add your own photos and text to their designs. If you want to make a movie poster featuring your child, husband or best friend in the starring role, this is the place to go.

The actual editing interface is very simple and it’s quick and easy to add photos from your computer, phone or Facebook gallery. Once you’ve customised the front of the card, you can type your message and name in the card and then send it to your recipient – though I tend to leave it blank, send it to myself and add my own handwritten message.

Best for: Using your favourite photos to create personal cards; send a gift at the same time

Drawbacks: Can only type name and message in cards; interface can be temperamental if you want to review designs

Blow Birthday Cards – https://www.blowbirthdaycards.com

A new US company that’s sure to grow fast, Blow Birthday Cards only work with independent artists and aim to have the right card for everyone, no matter their age or interests – so if your mother is turning 60 and loves fishing, you should check out their birthday cards.

What really sets Blow apart is the unique ability to take a photo of your handwritten message and signature and have it instantly appear in your card. After that, just check out as normal and your card will be printed and sent to the birthday boy or girl the same day with free postage. They also have a useful birthday reminders feature to make sure you can choose and order future cards in time to always guarantee delivery.

Best for: A real birthday card with the convenience of an e-card; helping small businesses and designers

Drawbacks: Currently US-only

Blow cards

Source: Blow Birthday Cards

Etsy – https://www.etsy.com/

The marketplace for all things handmade, artsy and craftsy, Etsy isn’t just a great place for cute gifts, its designers also sell a wide range of handmade greetings cards. Though it’s not really designed for browsing cards, the onsite search makes it easy to find cards around specific things your friends or family love.

While it doesn’t offer the kinds of customisation that Moonpig and Blow allow, it does give you a real alternative to cards on the high street if you’re looking for that perfect card or need to squeeze card shopping into an endless to-do list.

Best for: Unique craftsy cards; finding great gift ideas

Drawbacks: Cards all take different lengths of time to make and send; more expensive

Guest post by Will Chivers of ThoughtShift.

Spotlight on Preceded By Chaos

I haven’t read this book but today I have a Spotlight on the graphic novel Preceded By Chaos, vol 0 written by the author M Wheeler to share with my followers.

Preceded By Chaos

Here is the book blurb.

…Preceded by Chaos is an illustrated short story. The protagonist, Mitchell Weaver, is a young Emergency Medicine doctor. Mitchell has entered a high stress, distinguished profession with the burden of a variety of particularly disturbing personal demons that he must battle every day in order to maintain the façade of sanity and control. The initial instalment of the series, Volume 0, introduces the reader to Mitchell at a point in his life where he has begun to realize that many of his prior indulgences and deficits are no longer compatible with his current life of responsibility.


“…Preceded by Chaos, Vol. 0” is an illustrated short story. Why an illustrated short story? Well I would attribute that and, in many respects my writing style to my mother. She is neither an author nor an editor but she possibly embodies the single most influential impact on my writing style. You see, I love her immensely, but my mother is chaos personified. She is overtly anxious and her energy, similar to the symbol of chaos, extends in any direction at any time, with varying degrees, and without warning or notice. Like many children, I always had some element of misdirected resentment towards my mother for the less desirable personality traits that I inherited from her, until I understood how to own them and make them work for me. Two examples that stand out most to me are our short attention spans and our ability to find drama in the mundane and the mundane within the drama. In addition to these traits providing me with a perfect temperament for the fast pace and stress of Emergency Medicine they have also defined my writing style. For those scarce on time and attention, my stories are short and designed to keep you engaged for a quick flight, a lunch break or the short break that life offers while the kids are at karate. Like the varying energies of mom, my short stories fluctuate between text and illustration to use different modes of media to stimulate the reader and move the story along. It is our shared second trait, of finding the spectacle in the silent moments, which truly make the stories work, and I hope the reader agrees. Thanks for the style mom.

As for the story itself, the protagonist, Mitchell Weaver, is a young Emergency doctor. Mitchell has entered a high stress, distinguished profession with the burden of a variety of particularly disturbing personal demons that he must battle every day in order to maintain the façade of sanity and control. This book is part of series, which has an established and finite arc. When we first meet Mitchell, in Vol. 0, he has lost much of himself during the pursuit of his calling. Through the plus books the series follows Mitchell on his journey to find his true self; while through the minus books we trace his steps backward in attempt to identify how and where exactly he lost his himself. Symbolic of the series, which details Mitchell’s soul searching journey, Volume 0 is an important place to start because it documents Mitchell’s hunt to find an old friend who Mitchell feels can help set right some of the wrongs of his past that have found their way into his present.

Although the series is about a young doctor it approaches some common societal ailments that afflict all of human kind. For me, growing up in a family that produced more criminal charges and teenaged pregnancies then college degrees, once amongst the previously unfamiliar fraternity of physicians, I never expected to find so many commonalities between the common and the hyper-intellectual. I found that issues that we as a society and deal with, either directly or indirectly, such as mental illness, drug abuse and physical abuse are not stigmas associated to a particular social status but are unfortunate attributes that burden all of mankind. In order to create this series, I’ve taken interesting, and in some cases disturbing, situations and people that I have seen during my career and I have placed them in environments that I am familiar with.

PBC is a fictional series not based on any one individual’s life but rather a collage of individual lives amalgamated into Mitchell and put on display for the reader to understand that we all suffer from the human condition.

Thank you for the opportunity to entertain you.  I truly enjoyed writing “…Preceded by Chaos.”

Please visit the website, at www.precededbychaos.com, for free multimedia content and to learn more about the series. Like us on Face Book, at Preceded By Chaos, and follow us on Twitter, at @precededbychaos.

M. Wheeler


About M Wheeler
M. Wheeler held an eclectic series of jobs – including working as a studio engineer and a teacher – before he entered medical school in his thirties. During his residency while living in New York City, he wrote his first two books which would eventually become the Preceded by Chaos series. Wheeler travels extensively for his job but currently lives in Miami.

http://precededbychaos.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/precededbychaos

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/PrecededByChaos/

This book can be purchased via Amazon.


I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour.

Preceded By Chaos by M Wheele

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

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Disclosure.  I have not received this product.  All opinions are my own.

Guest post: Luxury pyjamas worth getting out of bed for!

The Reach London – Luxury pyjamas worth getting out of bed for!

Nightwear has recently had a serious upgrade and yet it is still difficult to find stylish cotton pyjamas that match silk ones in terms of quality and design, but without the high price tag and expensive dry cleaning bills.

At The Reach London, we have just launched, via a Kickstarter Campaign, a collection of beautifully tailored, luxury cotton pyjamas for both him and her.

Luxury Pyjamas from The Reach London

Designed and made in London by the same manufacturer who supplies leading luxury brands, including Gieves & Hawkes, Paul Smith, Burberry and Victoria Beckham, our pyjamas are way too chic only for bed!

The quality of craftsmanship is clearly evident in our pyjamas with their French seams, piped trims and hand tailoring.
We have also sourced the finest and most luxurious cottons and all our pyjamas are finished with ethically sourced mother-of-pearl buttons.
And, in addition to being effortlessly chic, our pyjamas are still practical in that they are all machine washable.

Luxury Pyjamas from The Reach London

Style Notes

Our pyjamas are designed to feel both classic and contemporary, cut for a relaxed yet tailored fit and sufficiently stylish to be seen both in and outside the bedroom and who doesn’t want an excuse to stay in their pyjamas all day!
And to tap into the trend of pyjama-chic, our women’s pyjama shirts are designed to also be paired with jeans. The gorgeous prints we have chosen further complement this look.

Luxury Pyjamas from The Reach London

Unique Size Combinations

A UNIQUE feature of our women’s pyjama collection is that because some of us maybe one size on top and a different size from the waist down, when purchasing our pyjama set, a different size pyjama shirt to the size of the trouser can be selected to make up the set.
We also know that some women will prefer to wear the pyjama trouser with their own choice of top, or to wear the pyjama shirt with jeans or as a nightshirt, so we are also offering the shirt and trouser as individual pieces to enable our customers to achieve the fashion look they want.
The men’s pyjama trouser are also available in two leg lengths to cater for those men who are over 6ft tall and who struggle to find stylish pyjama trouser of the correct length.

Special Discount

The GREAT NEWS for any of our backers on Kickstarter is that during our Kickstarter Campaign (which ends on 1st October) they will be able to purchase our new pyjama collection at a fantastic discount. Once our Kickstarter Campaign is over our new collection will only be available on our Company website at its normal RRP.
Please note during our Kickstarter Campaign we will ship all our pyjamas (and cashmere bed socks) FREE to anywhere in the world in time for Xmas!
So please see the link below to view our new collection:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thereachlondon/luxury-pyjamas-worth-getting-out-of-bed-for

Any questions regarding our Kickstarter Campaign or new Pyjama Collection please email us at kickstarter@thereachlondon.com

Please also share this with your friends, family & anyone you think may be interested in our new Pyjama Collection, we would really appreciate it!

Thank you for your time.

Guest post by Olivia, Helen & Will
The team at The Reach London

Blogival Guest Post: 4 Protagonists in One Novel

Guest post by Nooshie Motaref-, author of Tapestries of the Heart.

Tapestries of the Heart by Nooshie Motaref

At first to write a novel with four narratives did not come easily. My main intention of creating, Tapestries of the Heart was to inform the Western World on historical events which had happened throughout one hundred years, and their impacts on Iranians; especially women. My ultimate purpose was to bridge the cultural gap between the West and the Middle East, an important goal in today’s fractured world.

As it is necessary for every novel to have a protagonist, I had to pondered on creating him or her. It would have been dull if I simply talked about the important historical events from one main character’s point of view. In order to bring the events to life, I decided to create four narrators around my family members — myself — Mitra, my mother — Iran, my grandmother — Shirin, and my great-grandmother — Zahra. They all lived during these historical events and had to adapt to them.

A few years before the 20th century, the norm of the society was that an extra ordinary beauty of a girl could buy her ticket to the king’s palace. Zahra, a nine-year-old girl attracted the attention of a court eunuch, who wanted to induct her into the king’s harem. Despite the girl’s tender years, most Iranian families would be thrilled to send their daughters to become concubines of the king, but young Zahra’s devoted mother refused outright. Then who could tell her story better than herself as the character of Zahra?

During the 20th century, the life of three other characters, Shirin, Iran and Mitra are unfolded before our eyes. They depict the ever-changing effects of religion and politics. As a result, Mitra could overcome all odds to leave her country behind. She flew out of an oppressive dictatorship into the free world.

I was pleased to recreate these four women through my memories. As Zahra, I shook like a willow tree behind my mother’s chador when the eunuch wanted to separate me from her. As my grandmother, Shirin, I sat at the wedding altar not wanting to get married to an old man chosen by my family members. I understood that I had no voice of my own. More importantly, as my mother, Iran, I could tasted love for the first time. But I realized that through time, my love withered like a rose with the first winter storm. At the end, as Mitra, a free woman, I could leave my country to study in the United States. However, upon my return, I realized that the country had regressed and the government was enforcing a law that required women to cover their heads. I refused to abide by this new dictate, and left Persia for good.

It was an interesting attempt to bring back these four courageous women into the one novel. It seems like as if I have transported my readers to their time and place. By portraying and narrating her story, each has constructed a realistic heartfelt picture of her life. Moreover, I feel like I had a chance to live with each one again. This perception has given me immense pleasure that I never forget.

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Author biography

Nooshie Motaref, has gone through many challenging life experiences unlike many women from the Middle East. She grew up in Persia, and studied in four countries — Iran, Germany, Switzerland and United States. She received her master’s and doctorate degrees in American Literature and Folklore from Florida State University. Her dissertation is a proof of Carl Jung’s theory, the “Collective Unconscious,” through Persian fairy tales and folktales.

She has taught university courses on humanities, literature and critical thinking. In addition, she is certified by the Conflict Resolution Program Act to promote peacemaking efforts worldwide.

In March of 2014, she presented one of her articles, “Women and Islam,” for a conference, Women and Education at Oxford University in Oxford, England.

She frequently gives speeches on several subjects related to her birthplace including its culture, traditions and religion. Her purpose is to familiarize Western audiences with Iranian life and ethnicity.

Please visit www.nooshiemotaref.com

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This post is part of the Clink Street Summer 2016 #blogival, which is taking place all this month. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts, which cover a wide range of reading tastes.

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Blogival Guest Post: Conspiracy Theories

Guest post by Declan Milling, author of Carbon Black.

Carbon Black by Declan Milling

  1. Pope John Paul I was murdered conspiracy theories.

Pope John Paul I was a surprise choice and died only a month into his papacy. Various conspiracy theories have been propounded, including that he was murdered by Vatican insiders unhappy with plans to clean up Vatican financial management. This event is a rich source for such theories, having all the right components for a great story: the contemporaneous, apparently suicide, death of one of the Vatican’s bankers (found hanging from Blackfriars Bridger in London); alleged mafia involvement with that bank; involvement of the secretive P2 masonic lodge; corruption at the highest levels of Vatican bureaucracy; disgruntlement with the new pope’s early pronouncements. Secret organisations, political intrigue, money laundering, corruption – fertile ground indeed!

  1. Pan Am flight 103 Lockerbie bombing conspiracy theories.

In December 1988 Pan Am 103 blew up over Lockerbie in Scotland. Although a Libyan (Megradi) was convicted of the bombing, the evidence was circumstantial and there were a lot of unanswered questions, not least who was the real party responsible – Iran, the Palestinians, various other Arab terrorist organisations, the South African government. There were also claims (unsubstantiated) that the flight having been fully booked, had a lot of seats become available at the last minute, as certain people were warned against taking the flight. This event resonates as I had the misfortune of needing to drive through Lockerbie only six days after the event.

  1. Global warming conspiracy theories.

These are multiple and generally revolve around the thesis that the scientific consensus of climate change due to human activity is a hoax. The reasoning for the hoax is variously financial, ideological, political or economic – or all of the above! These conspiracy theories are intriguing as they are generally so ‘left field’ that they’d be funny if they weren’t so damaging and disruptive to genuine action to address the problem, which in itself is a problem as for some commentators being so way out makes it more plausible that they might just be true. What I think is the more interesting conspiracy theory relates to who is funding the proponents of these theories and why…

  1. Death in Singapore conspiracy theory.

On a more individual level, in 2012 a US electronics engineer working in Singapore was found hanging by the neck in his apartment. While his apparent suicide is a tragedy for his family, the case has many elements that raise suspicions and fuel conspiracy theories. The case is intriguing as it is almost a template for an industrial espionage conspiracy story involving complicit police, a cover up, foreign country trying to get US industrial secrets, lots of facts that don’t add up (or correspond to the police report), including a second opinion on cause of death, and evidence being destroyed by the authorities. Singapore considers the case closed, his family does not.

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This post is part of the Clink Street Summer 2016 #blogival, which is taking place all this month. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts, which cover a wide range of reading tastes.

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Blogival Guest Post: Super Superfoods

Guest post by Rick Hay, author of The Anti Ageing Food and Fitness Plan.

The Anti Ageing Food and Fitness Plan by Rick Hay

Superfoods are foods that are nutrient dense and have strong antioxidant properties and that’s a good thing as antioxidants are the good guys that help the body fight off free radicals that damage our health and our cells.
A true superfood has a high ORAC score which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity – the higher the score the stronger the food’s antioxidant ability. A super food is like a super warrior!

Often when we think about superfoods we think of things that are somewhat exotic like Acia, Goji berries or Cacao – and whilst these rainforest foods are indeed Superfoods every day foods can be superfoods too – think Beetroot, Blueberries and English Spinach.

There are even superfoods amongst your common herbs spices like turmeric, cinnamon and oregano.
All of these super spices have many medicinal qualities that modern research is revealing more and more of.

Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are most likely to be super foods that are immune boosters in their own right. Including more coloured foods in your diet means that you are increasing your phytonutrient intake and thereby boosting the immune system.

Some herbal teas such as Licorice, Fennel and Peppermint could be considered as super and there are also herbal tincture options such as Globe Artichoke, Olive Leaf and St John’s Wort that also fall into the same category. Herbal tinctures can be powerful medicinal tools due to their anti microbial, anti bacterial and anti viral properties.
Many are also liver and gall bladder tonics whilst others stimulate digestive function and support nervous system function too.

Resveratrol which is found in Red Wine and in Japanese Knotweed is part of these plant’s natural defence mechanism and is one of the best anti ageing nutrients found thus far.
Resveratrol works in our body by protecting our telemores at a cellular level -and longer telomeres lead to a healthier longer living cell.
Research is also indicating that this super nutrient is also a potent weapon in the fight against diabetes and that it also is a cardio protective.

To get the benefits of a superfood diet then you need to eat as close to nature as you can most of the time. You should include as many brightly coloured foods as you can in your daily diet.

If you want to try some superfoods some of my favourites include:

Spirulina and Chlorella to cleanse and alkalise the system.

Boabab and Maca to help with natural energy production.

Turmeric and Olive Leaf extract to boost immunity and fight viruses, microbes and bacterias.

Cinnamon and Globe Artichoke to regulate blood sugar levels.

Bitter greens like Chicory, Endive and Rocket to stimulate liver and gall bladder function.

Blueberries and Fish or Algal Oil to help boost cognition and protect against degenerative brain conditions.

Beetroot Juice and Co enzyme Q10 to improve athletic performance.

Superfoods come in many different guises and to really benefit from them it’s not just a matter of having some Acia powder daily – you need to include the common super spices, herbs and fruits and vegetables into your diet everyday.
The more varied your diet is the closer to super it will become!

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You can find Rick Hay on Twitter.

This post is part of the Clink Street Summer 2016 #blogival, which is taking place all this month. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts, which cover a wide range of reading tastes.

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Blogival Guest Post: Cyber Bullying and Ratting

Guest post by Edward Freeland, author of “Adapt”.

Adapt by Edward Freeland

The book Adapt has three antagonistic realms, cyber bullying/ratting, monstering from the media and psychology within the mental health system. For the mental health system, Alan Watts gives a wonderfully enlightening talk called “the value of psychotic experience” that can be accessed on Youtube, it really covers some of the dangers highlighted in the book. Monstering from the media is also covered most thoroughly in the revealing factual book Hack Attack. In this guest post I’m going to discuss the cyber bullying/ratting.

May 2014, 17 people in the UK, both male and female, and almost 100 people across Europe arrested on charges of hacking in a sweep investigation. In common between all the charges was the use of a RAT. Remote Access Trojans or Remote Administration Tools are commonly used to gain control remotely over someone’ s computer webcam, files, microphone as well as smart phone cameras and microphones. It is known as Ratting. The RAT that the arrested were using was Blackshades, that could be purchased online for £100. The most commonly used RAT, that has been allegedly used against informants in the Middle East. There are many other ways to hack of which some are impossible to trace but Blackshades is most wide spread.

RATs are widely used in a variety of ways, some less sinister than others, but across the board bullying tends to be the trend. Online at places like Hackforums.net, individuals trade and sell access to people’s computers. Ratted computers are known as slaves among the ratting community. Anyone with a smart phone is a potential target. Being careful online will help protect against being a victim but US and UK law is not in a position to help actual victims. To quote an author of a US policy paper on issues involving RATs, “The federal government should clarify the definition of interception under the Privacy Act and reconsider the damages requirement for private claims in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in light of the often non-economic nature of privacy harms. A victims suffering is often not financial but emotional”. This is an extremely good point, and in the case of Daniel (the protagonist of Adapt), it not only was emotional it effected his life in many real and physical ways like a gathering snowball effect which long term would become a financial burden too.

Recently Apple was involved in a court case whereby it objected to eleven orders issued by US district courts to use its existing capabilities to extract data from locked Iphones. This also reflects the Edward Snowden case and begs the question, “if the government and technology companies can access data on an individual, who else can? And is there a difference?” I think yes, there is a difference. As Orwellian as it may seem I don’t think the government snooping is as worrying as people may initially think, and with terrorism likely to increase according to security analysts I can see the need for data gathering. But to play devil’s advocate, should the government not put laws in place to protect victims of unlawful data stealing (videos, pictures, messages, conversations etc) by those with malicious intent.

I believe the government should do so, if they are going to gather data themselves, essentially to protect people, they should also protect people from criminals gathering data, even if no money is stolen.

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Author biography

My name is Edward Freeland, I grew up in London, but have lived in Norfolk for the past few years. I have worked many different jobs. I have always had a keen interest in history, and the underlying factors in human behavior has always fascinated me, as the same patterns occur through ancient, medieval and modern history. Science also intrigues me, so, in 2009 I completed two introductory, Open University short courses in quantum physics and astronomy. These fueled my already keen (thanks to a childhood watching the night sky with my family) desire to understand why we are here, and what the purpose of our reality is. Realizing that these answers will most surely never be answered in my lifetime, I now see every individual person’s reality as something miraculous, and that their purpose, is what they make it, and how others enrich it. I began writing in 2013, with the desire to explore some of these life themes that I find so engaging. I completed Adapt later that year, the first novel I have attempted, and have a new appreciation for the difficulty of knitting words together to create a piece of literature. My previous experience of writing, was penning songs in my teenage years. I find inspiration in different forms and areas of life, but music was certainly a mainstay during the writing process, particularly in breaks from the pen and paper.

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And you may read my review of Edward’s new book Adapt here plus your chance to win a copy.

Guest post: What to Get for Father’s Day

What to Get for Father’s Day

Understated, underrated – wholeheartedly Dad.

Father’s day is fast approaching, as usual it’s crept up on us amidst the chaos of school term time. Don’t fret, there is still plenty of time for you and the kids to get something meaningful for Dad this time round. For those of you still wondering – it’s Sunday, June 19th.

Dads, universally – never seem to ask for anything, on any occasion. This makes them particularly difficult to buy for! Even if you know you’ve got him something truly awful, he’ll still smile wide and thank you lovingly for it. But not this year, we’re going to get him something he’ll really love. If you’re already stuck for ideas, have a look at some of the giveaways that have taken place on the blog, they always go down really well!

Boys will be boys, and there is no better example of this than seeing your son refuse to wear his coat on some of the rainiest days of the year. It’s no wonder where they get it from. Dads are effortlessly, infuriatingly cool. They’re the only person you know that could look that great in sandals, an otherwise eye-watering Hawaiian shirt and shorts. However, this often means that they underdress inappropriately for the muddy, rainy and snowy occasions – that’s where the kids learn it from. They want to be like Dad!

If he had a brand new comfortable sailing jacket it would mean no more damp car seats. He’d look fantastic when he meets his mother in law and there is always a chance the kids would follow suit and wear their coats at school. It would also free up the time we’d usually spend putting another wash on to get the damp out – leaving us to enjoy an extra glass of rose.

baby-child-cute-dad-daddy-family

Image – https://pixabay.com/en/baby-child-cute-dad-daddy-family-22194/

Take him out for dinner. My other half is always so polite about where we go out to eat. As mums we’re always thinking about the kids. What time will we get back? How far away is it? Will they need a coat? Do they have any homework to do? He insists he “doesn’t mind what we eat” as he orders a goat’s cheese salad. Bearing in mind, this is the man that took you out for burgers on your first date!

Don’t be so quick to offload the children on your own parents though, remember its Father’s day for granddad too! Maybe there is a local restaurant that the whole family could enjoy. But remember, it has to be his choice this time. Even if the kids are there, express why we’re taking Dad out for dinner and how it’s respectful for them to behave on someone else’s special day.

They can still go wild on Father’s day cakes when you get home – if they’re not fast asleep in the back of the car that is!

We mums know better than anyone else how even the most meticulously planned days go horribly wrong. In which case, the above scenarios simply aren’t realistic. It might be best to spend the day inside and let him enjoy some gifts instead.

You know your other half best, of course. But here are a number of gifts that they might enjoy – depending on their personality.

Sporty

New football boots
Their favourite team’s football shirt – the new kits will be released soon!
A signed piece of memorabilia
Match day tickets for an upcoming game
A redeemable coupon that they can cash in for one free day at the pub with friends.

Musical

Put together a mixtape of his favourite tunes, throw a few sentimental ones in there too!
An iTunes gift card
Two tickets to a gig (you might have to offload the kids for this one)
A photo album of their favourite band.

Foodies

New carving cutlery
An iron cast pan – they last forever and are honestly incredible
A personalised apron
A selection of butchers cuts
A hamper of assorted craft beers and wines
An engraved hip flask

Geeky

A remote controlled quadcopter
Star Wars Blu-ray box set
A Game of Thrones bobble head for his desk at work
The Avengers Cufflinks
A great new book – I’ve done dozens of book reviews myself to help you out!

Fashionable

A new watch or watch winder
A gift card for the latest Nike shoes
A day for suit fitting at the local tailor.
Levi Jeans

That should be enough for the time being, we still have a month to prepare and we won’t forget, will we! Amongst the stress of daily life, bills, taxes and school runs it’s easy to forget the little things. But this is the man you want to spend the rest of your life with and whose experiences will shape the future of your children. I’m sure the children will remember how far a well thought out gift goes when it comes to them buying Father’s day gifts on their own.

Guest post by Will Chivers of ThoughtShift.